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Season review: Sydney

Swans bookends should go on the trade table What went right and what went wrong at the Sydney Swans in The Wash-Up

In a nutshell

It was always going to be tough to salvage anything significant from a 0-6 start to the year, and that's how it panned out, despite the Swans' extraordinary effort to make the eight.

Have your say: Give your season verdict on the Swans using the form at the bottom of this article.

What we said in the pre-season  

Like most, we failed to predict Sydney's awful early season form and from there the top-four finish was never in play. We were on the money picking Lance Franklin to win his fourth Coleman Medal, while the NSW All Australian domination didn't eventuate, although Josh Kennedy was surprisingly overlooked.

What worked 

Led by Kennedy and Luke Parker, the Swans' contested style was at its best when they won 15 of 17 games after round six and dominated opposition teams through the midfield. The backline was also outstanding during that period and was ranked first for points against during the regular season.

What failed

Most of the team failed against Geelong in last week's semi-final, and it will be a long summer for the coach as well. Kieren Jack and Kurt Tippett both played injured early in the season and it backfired, with both underperforming and eventually forced to miss a bunch of games to get fit. 

Overall rating: C

The revival was exceptional but it meant little after such a poor finals exit.

The coach

John Longmire's effort to guide his team to a seventh straight top-eight finish was remarkable, but 15 wins is his lowest mark since his debut season of 2011. Out-coached against the Cats last week, which could prompt some tinkering with the list and the game plan. 

The leaders 

Kennedy was phenomenal in his first year as skipper, especially under huge pressure early in the season. His performances remained elite, and from all reports, his leadership matched his on-field output. Parker, Franklin, Heath Grundy and Nick Smith were consistent again, but injuries worries hurt the influence of Dan Hannebery, Dane Rampe and Jarrad McVeigh. 

First-year captain Josh Kennedy led the Swans' revival from the front. Picture: AFL Photos
kennedy with swans.JPG


Josh Kennedy: The captain was at his contested ball-winning best all year even when his side was winless after round six. Averaged 28.2 possessions and 6.8 clearances per game.

Surprise packet

Nic Newman: Debuted in round two as a 24-year-old and averaged over 20 disposals in his 20 games. Able to play wing or across half-back, he should be rapt with his season.  

Get excited

Will Hayward: With lightning speed and a keen eye for goal, the draftee booted 22.9 from 17 games and gave the Swans plenty of pressure inside 50.


Aliir Aliir: battled injury during the pre-season and never got going. Played three of the first four games but was dropped, then failed to turn up for training when he was recalled in round seven. Wasn't seen again.

Aliir only managed three games for the year after a breakout 2016. Picture: AFL Photos

Best win

Round 22: Sydney 13.5 (83) defeated Adelaide 11.14 (80) at Adelaide Oval

With Kennedy, Parker and Hannebery combining for 89 possessions, 18 clearances and 16 tackles, and Franklin booting three clutch goals, the Swans hung on to win a thriller.

WATCH: Adelaide v Sydney match highlights

Low point

With 15 wins from their past 17 matches the Swans went into their semi-final against Geelong as favourites, but couldn't match the Cats' intensity and got blown off the park.

The big questions

Will Kurt Tippett be there next season?
He's on big money and has battled injuries for two seasons in a row. He still has some upside when fit but a move might help both parties.

Has Gary Rohan done his dash?
Another terrible final has done nothing to help his reputation in big games, so it might be time for the Swans to see if he's got any trade value. 

Can Aliir turn his career around?
After such a good debut season the key defender's fall was significant. If he really wants to be a part of this club he needs to get his head right.

Season in a song

Six Months In A Leaky Boat – Split Enz 

Premiership window

Three-quarters open: Some luck over the pre-season will help.

Who's done?

Retirements: Nil
Delistings: Nil
Unsigned free agents: Nil

How should they approach trade and draft period?

Just like they did last year, expect the Swans to draft players with leg speed and quality foot skills, while they'll also be interested in key defenders. 

Early call for 2018

If the Swans get some luck over summer and can keep all their important weapons fit and healthy, they'll be finals contenders again, and should push for a return to the top four. 

Swans fans: what's your season verdict? 

Share your views via the form below and we'll publish the best responses on Thursday, September 28. 

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The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs